I read this statistic following the recent election. “Over sixty-four percent of young people under the age of twenty-four supported left-wing candidates and policies.” This certainly comes as no surprise—at least not to me. When I was that age, I was definitely a lefty. Age, experience, and knowledge has tempered that philosophy quite a bit. In fact, people that know me are often shocked when they find out the truth about my past leanings. What can I say? Stuff happens, and things change.
Winston Churchill is purported to have said the following. “If you are not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.” My experience in life refutes the absolute truth of his statement, of course. I know a lot of old, extremely intelligent liberals. Still, like most sayings, it’s very catchy. Plus, it seems to run concurrent with my life.
I Believe the Bible
Unlike a lot of folks, my conservative leanings are not necessarily political (although they often wash out that way). They are, in fact, to be found more on a theological level. In a nutshell, I believe the Bible. In most people’s eyes, this makes me a Biblical conservative. So be it. I can live with that.
When it comes to theology, Churchill’s quote doesn’t hold much water. People grow in all sorts of directions when it comes to their spiritual beliefs. One doesn’t necessarily grow into Biblical conservatism with age. It’s often quite the opposite. I’ve seen it over and over again. The more your friends study Scripture, the more likely you won’t be able to predict where they’ll come down on a Biblical issue.
That surprises many of us. It shouldn’t, but it does. The reason I say it shouldn’t is because of Jesus. No one could ever pin Him down or put Him into their theological box. Scripture leaves a lot of room for growth—in many directions. Trying to plot someone’s spiritual growth chart is a little like nailing Jell-O to the wall. We’re all on a journey, and yours will likely be much different than that of your friends—even your closest ones.
Where Is Jesus Leading?
The simple answer to all of this is to go where Jesus leads you. Don’t look to become either a liberal or a conservative. Look to follow the path the Lord lays out for you. It won’t necessarily look like someone else’s. It will, however, lead to the Savior’s will for your life. I can tell you what I think, but I’m not God—thank goodness!
Churchill also said something else that I find even more efficacious. “When you’re twenty you care what everyone thinks, when you’re forty you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.” Keep that in mind when someone tries to label you. Chances are pretty good they don’t know what they’re talking about. Either that, or they’re just not thinking.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]